Minn. amateur golfer Schmitz, PGA pro Merritt to play in Masters

Farmington, Minn., native Sammy Schmitz (left) and Spring Lake Park High School graduate Troy Merritt (right) will play in this year's Masters.

A pair of golfers with Minnesota connections will be competing in their first Masters on Thursday.

Spring Lake Park High School graduate Troy Merritt and Farmington, Minn., native Sammy Schmitz will be playing in the major tournament in Augusta, Ga. Merritt is the 85th-ranked golfer in the world and has played in 11 PGA Tour events this season, finishing in the top 25 in four.

Schmitz, 35, lives in River Falls, Wis., and works full time in healthcare services. He qualified by winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur title in October in Vero Beach, Fla., where he made a hole-in-one on a 260-yard par 4 in the championship match.

A former Division III all-American golfer at St. John’s University, Schmitz is the 2,582nd-ranked amateur golfer in the world. He is a three-time Minnesota Golf Association player of the year.

The 30-year-old Merritt graduated from Spring Lake Park in 2004 and began his college-golf career at Winona State before transferring to Boise State. He has played on the PGA Tour since 2010, earning more than $4.5 million and winning the 2015 Quicken Loans National.

Schmitz will tee off at 10:16 a.m. Thursday and 7:20 a.m. Friday in a threesome that includes former Masters champion Mike Weir. Merritt will tee off at 10:27 a.m. Thursday and 7:31 a.m. Friday.